08 December 2020


Virtual event

Evidence vs Myth: Understanding Displacement in a Changing Climate

8 December 2020 | 14:30 - 16:00 CET


This was the first of two events that we at IDMC are organising, in addition to our expert forums, as lead-in to our 2021 Global Report on Internal Displacement, with a thematic focus on climate change and disaster displacement.

The webinar featured a prominent panel of experts who help to provide evidence that debunks common and dangerous myths surrounding climate change and displacement. From the idea that displacement linked with disasters is temporary, to the claim that disasters are natural and therefore displacement unavoidable, all the way to the belief that climate change will result in “mass displacement”, this online webinar touched on a broad range of topics.



Moderator and opening remarks:

Alexandra Bilak, Director of IDMC


  • António Vitorino 

António Vitorino has been IOM's Director General since October 2018. He served as Minister for National Defence and Deputy Prime Minister in Portugal within the government of António Guterres, now the United Nations’ Secretary General. He is a former European Commissioner for Justice and Home Affairs.

  • François Gemenne

François Gemenne is the director of the HUGO Observatory at University of Liège (Belgium), a research center committed to the study of interactions between environmental changes, human migration, and politics. He lectures on environmental and migration policies in various universities, including Sciences Po Paris. He is a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

  • Sonia Shah

Sonia Shah is an investigative journalist and author of critically acclaimed and prize-winning books. The Next Great Migration: The Beauty and Terror of Life on the Move (2020) was praised by Publisher's weekly as "a masterful survey of migration [...] countering some long-held misconceptions". She has written for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and many others.

  • Prof. Rajib Shaw

Rajib Shaw is professor at the Graduate School of Media and Governance in Keio University’s Shonan Fujisawa Campus (Japan). He was the chair of the United Nations Science Technology Advisory Group (STAG) for disaster risk reduction and is the coordinating lead author for the IPCC. He is the co-founder of Delhi based start-up Resilience Innovation Knowledge Academy (RIKA) India, and former executive director of the Integrated Research on Disaster Risk (IRDR).

For more information on this high-level dialogue, please contact, contact